CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Tyler Mountain Bottled Water said its Poca distribution center did not receive water recalled over the weekend due to potential E. coli contamination.
The company also said Monday it suspects the potential bacterial contamination could be the result of lab error and not a problem with at its bottling operation.
Over the weekend, the company and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a recall notice for three-, four- and five-gallon bottles of Tyler Mountain Water bottled April 17 and April 18 by the company’s bottling provider, Aqua Filter Fresh, which is located in Pittsburgh.
Pennsylvania DEP spokesman John Poister told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review the Allegheny County Health Department found total coliform and E. coli bacteria during routine testing. Poister told the newspaper about half of the 9,400 water bottles in the affected lot were still in Aqua Filter Fresh warehouses.
The Pennsylvania DEP said only customers that recently received a new delivery of water from Aqua Filter Fresh need to be concerned about this recall.
Company spokesman Dave Mashek said none of the water from the potentially contaminated lot reached homes or businesses in the Kanawha Valley, which is served by Tyler Mountain’s Poca distribution hub.
“No water was distributed from the Poca facility whatsoever,” Mashek said.
Mashek did say 94 West Virginia customers served by the company’s Fairmont distribution center received some of the questionable water. He said all of those customers were contacted and told of the situation Saturday and were receiving replacement water Monday.
In addition to contacting Pennsylvania authorities, Mashek said the company informed the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources of the situation Saturday after it learned the water had been sent to the Fairmont distribution center.
State DHHR spokeswoman Allison Adler said the Pennsylvania authorities were taking the lead with handling the matter.
While Tyler Mountain and Aqua Filter Fresh have been recalling and replacing the affected water, Tyler Mountain executives are questioning whether the situation might have been caused by a laboratory error and not actual contamination.
“Aqua Filter Fresh has consistently gone far above and beyond the sampling or water processing requirements established by (the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection) for all of the company’s bottled water products since the company’s inception in 2001,” the company said in a statement Monday.
The company said it had collected and analyzed 80 samples during the month and 249 to-date in 2014 — far greater than the minimum of state requirement of 12 samples a month.
“All of these samples, including randomly selected bottles for the dates involved with this recall, have been free of any contamination concerns,” the company said.
“These results, in addition to other factors, are currently leading us to the belief that the original samples which lead to the recall are due to an anomaly with a contract laboratory, not water quality,” it said.
The company said anyone who believes they could have received suspect water can call 800-864-8957 for further instructions.
E. coli bacteria contamination is typically a signal that water has been contaminated with human or animal feces. It can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, and other symptoms if contaminated products are consumed. It can also pose a significant health risk to infants, young children, the elderly and people with severely compromised immune systems.
Authorities advise anyone experiencing symptoms of potential E. coli-related to seek medical attention.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4836.